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Small Change to Aircraft to Save Navy Millions

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS061208-30
Release Date: 12/8/2006 4:41:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Omar A. Dominquez, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Boeing officials presented the “Conquistadors” of Logistics Support Squadron (VR) 57 with the latest modification to their newest aircraft at Naval Air Station North Island Dec. 7.

The C-40A Clipper (a Boeing 737-700 aircraft) was modified with special “winglets” to increase the aircraft’s efficiency. According to a 2005 study, winglets have the potential to decrease fuel burn, improve payload capacity, and increase range up to 150 nautical miles.

“This modification improves the overall efficiency of the aircraft, which means we’ll be able to deliver more critical equipment into theater faster, with fewer trips and with greater reliability,” said Commander, Naval Air Forces, Vice Adm. Jim Zortman. “This is a great example of a simple transfer of technology from industry – an adoption of best practices. We took a Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) solution and modified our aircraft to improve the efficiency.

"I know the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) will see a tremendous return on investment by doing this,” said Zortman.

According to the study, at its operational altitude, this modification will reduce fuel consumption by approximately 5.9 percent.

“The amount of money spent on the winglets will be earned back within five years by the savings gained from reduced fuel consumption,” said Cmdr. Eric Petersen, Naval Air Forces VR readiness officer. “Over a short amount of time, the Navy will save millions of dollars in fuel costs."

Another significant benefit of the modification is the aircraft’s increased lift capacity – nearly 6,000 lbs.

“One C-40A can carry the load of two C-9s,” said Cmdr. Douglas Crawford, a VR-57 pilot. “The modification is great for us; it increases the performance of the aircraft in just about every aspect. Over the 30-year lifespan of the aircraft, it is going to save the Navy a lot of money.”

VR-57 is part of the Logistics Support Wing, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, and is manned entirely by Reservists. The Logistics Support Wing flies C-40 Clipper, C-9B Skytrain and C-130 Hercules aircraft and is responsible for 100 percent of the Navy’s heavy and medium in theater lift capability.

The C-40A Clipper is replacing the C-9B Skytrain that has provided logistics support to the Navy for more than 17 years.

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